2. Collecting Opt-ins: How to
In order to remain compliant, you'll need to collect express written consent from your audience to text them. Find out how.
Ben Nebesky avatar
Written by Ben Nebesky
Updated over a week ago

Texting is a great way to quickly and easily reach out to contacts and provide them with helpful information.

The key to a successful texting experience is that is needs to be a mutual and positive relationship between you and the contact. That's where opt-ins come in.

This can come in many different forms including a form on your website, included in registration pages, sent via email or even shared through social media. The goal of these opt-in's is all about receiving explicit written consent in order to message your contacts.

So why do you have to collect opt-in's?

It's a part of federal law in order to limit the amount of SPAM that exists in text messages or phone calls. This law is called the Telephone Consumer Protection Act, you can read more about that here.

The long and short of it is, you need permission from your contacts before you text them.

Here is the short checklist of what you need in order to collect opt-ins.

At the bottom of the article, you'll find an FAQ about consent.

Clear Call-To-Action

Your call to action is the way in which you tell people to participate in your SMS program.

Whether it's an...

  1. Employee opting in to receiving updates about the company

  2. A recruit opting in to receiving texts from a recruiter

  3. A customer opting in to receive marketing messages

  4. Or a client opting in to receiving updates about their legal case

You are always going to be telling them to opt in. You are calling them to action, the action being opting into receiving texts from you.

The Call-to-Action can be simple. The primary purpose is to ensure that a Contact consents to receive a message and understands the nature of what they will receive.

The Call-to-Action needs to include the following:

  1. Description: Information about the type of messages they are going to receive and the purpose.

  2. Opt-in: Clear language about how to opt-in

  3. Identity: The organization or individual who will be sending the messages.

  4. Message Frequency: The frequency of the messages they should expect to receive.

  5. Data & Rates: Carriers require you to inform those you're texting that they may incur costs as a result of signing up.

  6. Terms and Conditions: Customer care contact information, opt-out instructions, and terms and conditions (if you have any).

The below is an example of a Call to Action that includes all of the above items.

The above example includes:

  1. Clear information about opt-in

  2. Tells them the description of the messages they will receive and the identity of the organization sending the messages.

  3. A disclaimer that includes

    1. The subject/purpose of message they will receive

    2. The frequency of the messages

    3. The fact that there are data and rates that may be incured for participating

    4. Terms and Conditions and Opt-out instructions

Ultimately, you are just trying to reduce the risk of someone receiving an unwanted message. By making contacts opt-in before sending them messages, you are ensuring that no one gets a text without consent!

Collecting Opt-in

We just we just went over what a call to action looks like. Now, we're going to go over a few ways that someone can opt-in to your messages.

The example in the previous section was a keyword, so we'll start there.

Keywords (Autoresponders)

This is by far the most simple to implement and the one we recommend.

In addition to being simple to set up, they're extremely easy for your audience to engage with.

A keyword may be something like "SUBSCRIBE" or "OPTIN". This qualifies as explicit written consent to receive messages from you whether they are for promotional or informational purposes.

It allows for your audience to text a phrase into your number and receive an automatic response. Remember, you'll need to format your Call to Action to follow these standards.

To learn more about setting up Keyword Autoresponders in MessageDesk, you can visit the below article.

Web Forms

Do you have a website? This may be the option for you.

With Forms in MessageDesk, you can send the form as a link or embed it directly on your website if you're comfortable adding code to your website.

Forms are a great way to collect an opt-in from your audience as well as collect contact information.

You can format your form to collect all the necessary information you need as well as an automatic response when the form is submitted. Remember, you'll need to format your response message to follow these standards.

Widgets (Chatbot)

A chatbot is extremely similar to a form. It's designed to collect contact information and then send out an automatic text response.

It's a small icon that sits on the bottom corner of your website.

When you click on it, it will ask for the contact information similar to a form.

Once submitted, it will send an automatic message that confirms that the person has opted into text messages.

To learn more about setting up chatbots in MessageDesk, you can read the article below.

POS System

You can collect text message consent on you POS system or your online store.

Here are some popular POS system providers where you can collect and get consent for messages:

Paper Form

A paper form can be used to collect explicit written consent from contacts.

Remember, it will need to follow the guidelines for a Call to Action shown in the previous section.

FAQ about Consent

Here are some questions that we frequently get about consent!

How to collect consent if you don't have a website

If you don't have a website, we highly recommend you utilize keywords. They don't require any setup outside of the keyword itself and doesn't require additional resources.

You may want to create marketing materials that advertise your keyword.

Why do I need to collect opt-in?

You need to collect opt-ins to verify that your contacts actually want to be receiving your messages. It's also the law, the Telephone Consumer Protection Act requires you to collect express written consent to send marketing messages.

To learn more about why you need to collect opt-in, check out this article.

Why do I need to collect opt-in if I already registered with the carriers?

Registration is only part of remaining compliant. This is how your business is registered with the carriers to be approved to send messages.

You still need to get consent from your audience in order to send messages to them.

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